David Cameron Denies Murdoch Favoritism

British Prime Minister David Cameron gave a full day’s worth of testimony on Thursday at the Leveson Inquiry on media ethics regarding whether or not he received favorable treatment from Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers.

In 2009, some months before elections, the newspapers had switched their support to Cameron’s Conservatives, who indeed prevailed in the polls. Cameron was outright dismissive that there was any covert arrangement involving “a nod and a wink.”

The inquiry also focused on his hiring of former News of the World editor Andy Coulson as his communication director and Cameron’s handling of Murdoch’s News Corporation’s failed bid last year to gain full control of BSkyB, Britain’s biggest satellite television broadcaster.

A “Cringeworthy Text”

While Cameron will most likely “largely be relieved” about his testimony, there were plenty of what the New Statesman describes as “uncomfortable moments” especially in the form of a “cringeworthy text” sent by (twice arrested in relation to the phone hacking scandal) former News International CEO Rebekah Brooks to him on October 7, 2009, a week after The Sun had switched its support to the Conservatives.

In that text, says the Guardian,

“I am so rooting for you tomorrow not just as a proud friend but because professionally we’re definitely in this together!” wrote Brooks. “Speech of your life! Yes he Cam!”

Brooks’s sign-off was repeated the following day in the headline on the Sun’s leader comment, heaping praise on Cameron’s speech.

Cameron insisted that Brooks’s text simply showed how his party and NI’s newspapers would be “pushing the same agenda.”

The Prime Minister was also questioned about his relationship with Brooks and how long they had been “good friends.” He noted that “we got to know each other because of her role in the media, my role in politics,” saying that their “relationship got stronger” after she married Cameron’s longtime friend, Charlie Brooks.

As the New York Times observes,

The association with Ms. Brooks has taken added dimensions since she and her husband, Charlie Brooks, appeared at a London court on Wednesday after being charged last month, along with four subordinates, with conspiring to pervert the course of justice in what prosecutors said was a cover-up of evidence related to the phone hacking scandal.

The Brookses, friends of Mr. Cameron’s in what is known as the Chipping Norton set — an upmarket social grouping in the lush Oxfordshire countryside — have denied wrongdoing. After a brief hearing on Wednesday, the court allowed the six accused to remain free on bail until another hearing on June 22.

What Did the Prime Minister Know?

In addition to queries about his relationship with Brooks, Cameron was questioned about his hiring of Coulson, who quit his post as Cameron’s communications director some months after he had started as details about the hacking scandal began to emerge. Cameron emphasized that he had “received assurances” from Coulson when he hired him that any issues concerning the hacking scandal had been resolved and emphasized that he would have fired Coulson, had he been presented with evidence that he knew about the phone hacking. But he did not, as the New Statesman observes, seek his own “independent verification,” thereby displaying either “extreme naïveté (or knavishness).”

Overall, Cameron’s questioning inquiry could have ”profound political overtones as the Labour opposition seeks to call [his] judgment into question.” Also of concern is how British culture minister Jeremy Hunt, conducted himself when he took over responsibility for oversight of the Murdoch bid for BSkyB. The opposition Labour party has been calling for an  independent inquiry into whether Hunt was biased regarding the bid, as he had publicly declared his support of it in a memo to Cameron.


Related Care2 Coverage

Gordon Brown Disputes Murdoch’s Claims On Afghanistan

Is Rupert Murdoch Losing His Hold on the Media?

Tony Blair At the Leveson Inquiry: No Surprises (Almost)




Photo by Statsministerens kontor


Alex H.
Alex H5 years ago

There are two things here that are very obvious to me;Ms Brooks must be VERY GOOD at "something" and there appears to be a lot of perjury going on!? These politicians know who the power behind the throne is,and I don't mean the Duke of Edinburgh! Mr Murdoch would have known about EVERYTHING that was going on in his organisation;that's how he got to the top!He can make or break governments,both Parties know that.However,you know what they say,live by the sword and die by the sword!I feel a bit sorry for the Murdoch sons who have been born into this murky environment and forced to take part in it!I wonder if the part Chinese daughters will carry on the dynasty?Interesting!?

Carole H.
Carole H5 years ago

As far as I recollect Cameron in his attempt to deny there was any covert arrangement either implicitly or explicitly before the election with the Murdoch empire was not so much dismissive
as excercising a rather strange linguistic gymnastics, at 1047am he said. "I think the idea of overt deals are nonsense .... I also don't believe in this theory there was a nod and a wink and some sort of agreement" No one was asking what he believed they were asking if it was true or not - if it was not true in any way surely he should have simply and vehemently denied it - not say he 'thought' the idea was nonsense, nor that he did not 'believe' in the theory, both of these allow for doubt - if I believe in something I could be wrong as belief is not knowledge, likewise the use of I think again it allows me to change my mind later as again I do not profess to know it. In case anyone thinks I am being finicky here the distinctions to be made between professing a belief and professing to knowledge (and let us face it he should know) could cynically become a very important distinction should evidence of any deal emerge in the future and thus any charges of perjury - I believe and I think could be get out clauses.

Demian v.
Wendy V5 years ago

Unfortunately all these puppets that are 'in charge' are a bunch of psychopaths, which is a personality disorder characterized by a pervasive pattern of disregard for the feelings of others and often the rules of society. Psychopaths have a lack of empathy and remorse, and have very shallow emotions. Politics and big business is the perfect place for these people, 'they' work their way up into positions where 'they' can craft the outcome of events and then sit back and watch the chaos. This is the world that has been created over a very long period of time, carefully masterted and planned... The only question is how long can this be sustained, how long do we the 'little people' just sit back and accept this???

Donna Hamilton
Donna Hamilton5 years ago

As Mandy Rice Davies once said (about someone involved in a different political scandal), "Well he would say that, wouldn't he?"

Duane B.
.5 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Robert K.
Robert K5 years ago

There needs to be severe fines for news organizations that perpetrate lies and feed them to the public. That should go for spin as well. Call it the Sgt Friday law. Just the facts ma'am.

That would leave Muirdoch trillions of dollars in debt. And even more importantly there should be severe fines for political ads that have even a hint of untruth to them.

Neil A.
Neil A5 years ago

Cameron a lying slime ball not fit to run the UK, well at least he does not really rule the more intelligent SCOTS.

Wende Anne Maunder
Wendé Maunder5 years ago

Aw, c'mon Cameron we weren't born yesterday. Corruption, corruption, corruption: is all I've got to say in the matter.

Winn Adams
Winn A5 years ago

Thanks for the info.

Paul Carter
Paul Carter5 years ago

The only reason that Murdoch didn't get B Sky B was because the phone hacking scandal hit a public nerve when it was revealed that murder victims phones were hacked. The back-pedalling would have broken any Olympic record. I believe in freedom of the press, but that freedom should be to publish facts not to make things up, spin stories for political ends or as favours for power. But then I would also like to see truthful politicians and they are as rare as rain in the Sahara.